Silver was a beloved pet, and his owner trained him both to ride and drive. Unfortunately circumstances beyond her control forced her to give Silver up. She was concerned about his future, so she looked for a rescue. She knew that a rescue would carefully handle Silver’s future, look for the perfect adopter and follow-up to make sure Silver worked well in his adoptive home.
Silver’s owner placed him with a young rescue, and he moved immediately into a foster home. The foster home had young children who allowed Silver to push them around, so he moved into another foster home. Silver’s behavior got worse and he moved from home to home. Finally he landed with The Equine Behaviorist.
The Equine Behaviorist’s first meeting with Silver wasn’t positive. She walked into Silver’s stall to halter him and lead him outside. He tried to blast past her out of the stall and drag her down the barn aisle. Then as she was grooming him in the cross-ties, he tried to throw her into the wall. Luckily he was a small pony and did not hurt her, but she knew his behavior needed to be corrected immediately.
Since Silver tried to pull away from The Equine Behaviorist several times while being led, The Equine Behaviorist put a stud chain over Silver’s nose and when he tried to pull away, he hit the stud chain. He tried to pull away a few times, and then began to walk quietly on the lead.
The next time Silver tried to push The Equine Behaviorist into the wall in the cross-ties, she pushed him back into the other wall. Silver did not try to push her into the wall again.
When it was time for The Equine Behaviorist’s to ride Silver, he had another bag of tricks. His first trick was to put his head down quickly, trying to pull the reins away. This trick generally would pull a child off balance and possibly even pull them over Silver’s head. Luckily The Equine Behaviorist could pull back. Next Silver tried to drop his shoulder. This would likely drop a child rider onto the ground, but The Equine Behaviorist kept her seat. Next, Silver tried to rub her off on the fence rail. She pulled her leg up onto the saddle and Silver ran himself into the rail. His last trick was to try to “take off”. However Silver didn’t like to canter – his “taking off” involved a fast trot. The Equine Behaviorist made him keep trotting until he was tired, and then made him trot some more.
After that day of “tough love”, Silver was a changed pony. He behaved well for The Equine Behaviorist, but he did test all new handlers. Silver’s lesson is that you cannot let ponies misbehave just “because they’re ponies”. Small ponies can still hurt someone – Silver dumped someone on the ground and caused him to crack a rib. Sometimes ponies need refresher courses in manners.